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Discovered Tapes

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Something very interesting has come my way, and I am looking for advice on how best to deal with it.

I was at a friend of mines place for a BBQ last weekend and he put on a Beatles CD. I remarked to him what a great band I thought they were, and he started to tell me a very intriguing story.

A friend of his went out with one of the Beatles when she was very young.  She still has old reel to reel tapes in her possession of the band practicing and playing from the early days before they were signed. He said that he had mentioned to her previously selling them for her and taking a percentage, and she had expressed an interest in this, but he had never pursued it.

Well this sounds like an amazing opportunity to me and I want to act on it as soon as possible before someone else does or before the recordings are lost.

So I thought I should ask some Beatles fans what they thought the best way of approaching this would be.

My questions more specifically are:

Can these recordings be listened to without damaging them and what would be the best way to extract the information stored on them?

What would the legal status of the recordings be? (As my friend tells it, the lady recorded the band herself with their permission and so has full rights to them.)

What king of contract should I sign to make sure that myself and my friend have sole agency to sell the recordings?

To whom should we try and sell them (McCartney, The BBC and Ebay come to mind) and depending on what they contain, is their any indication or precedent of what they may be worth?

I am not sure what is on the tapes, or whether they are still usable, but I think that this is something not to pass up. So any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

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Paul does like to buy up as much of his past as possible.  Whether he'd give you the best price is certainly unknowable.

Ebay might be the best bet.

Some of the tapes from the 50's and 60's are still playable, but I would only do it once to transfer the sound to eitehr a computer or a cassette.  Then burn a CD and use that for 'promotional' purposes (to prove what is on the tape).

Some old tapes the red oxide dust just flakes off.  If that were the case I would not even try to copy it for fear of ruining it.  Still, that makes it tough to know what it is.

Store the tape box in a plastic bag and keep it in a moderate and dry place, not too hot nor cold (cool is best).

Obviously you'll want to listen to it first, if possible.  Then probably put it on ebay and see what kind of response it garners.  Only thing is a lot of people will assume it's faked, so it would be helpful to be able to play a sample sound from it.

Good luck!

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Several things occur to me:

The writer of the first post may be about to be set up by the lady and/or her friend.

The writer of the first post may be trying to set someone up here. I have seen this sort of thing a couple of times before on web boards.

The writer of the first post may be simply trying to get attention.

Oh yes - one more thing occurs to me: the whole scenario might be genuine. Might. Just might.

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Oh indeed.

In other Beatle groups we get these sorts of requests all the time.  What is this worth?  Big stories to accompany the acquiring of said item(s).

I simply offered an answer based on the story being true.  I see no harm in it, as I have no intention of buying anything myself.

But yes, a lot of these things are the fevered imaginings of trolls.

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Thanks for the replies so far.

Maria, you are right to be sceptical. All I can say is that I am not trying to sell anything to anybody in this forum and am just looking for advice.

With regard to the lady ripping me off, I will first need to listen to the tapes myself to see what they contain and if they are genuine. I don't plan to buy them up-front, but sell them at auction and get a percentage.

For all I know, this may be the ramblings of a senile old women, but my take on it is what if it's not? I will kick myself for years if these tapes turn out to be real and I passed them up.

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